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Arrival Checklist for New Students

Upon arrival, new F-1 and J-1 international students are required to complete the tasks on this page within 5 days. 

Obtain your I-94 record online

Travel in and out of the U.S. is recorded electronically by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record for all international non-immigrant visitors to the U.S. This important record lists your entry date, port of entry, and visa status in which you were admitted to the U.S. The I-94 record may be required as proof of status for F-1 or J-1 benefit applications, employment verification, and other official purposes.

You will be required to submit an electronic copy of your I-94 record as part of the OISS immigration check in process.

Learn more and access your I-94 Record

Verify that you have completed (100%) of the required Online F-1/J-1 Student Orientation course.

Hopefully, all new students will have completed the required online orientation course prior to arrival to Northwestern. If you have not enrolled in and completed or still need to complete sections of the course, please do so as soon as possible! The "Certificate of Completion" of this course will be required to complete immigration check-in with OISS.

Learn more and access the required online orientation course:


Complete Student Check-In

All students who have entered the U.S. using an initial or transferred SEVIS ID are required to complete "Check-in" via the OISS portal, including:

  • Newly admitted students arriving from abroad.
  • Newly admitted transfer students arriving from elsewhere in the U.S.
  • Students returning from a leave of absence of more than 5 months.

Instructions to submit your “Check-in Request” 

  • Login to the OISS Portal with your NetID and password.
  • Click on the “Documents and Requests” tab in your student profile.
  • On the right side, you will see a “Check-in Request.” Click on that icon and complete and submit the request with the required documentation. The preferred format to upload is PDF or JPEG. If we cannot open your document, you will be required to re-submit in the required format.
  • Upload a copy of your I-94 arrival record (see above)
  • Upload the "Certificate of Completion" to demonstrate you have completed the required online F-1/J-1 student orientation course. Upon successful completion of the orientation course, the certificate of completion will be sent to you via email at the email address you used to create your Homebase account. Note: Kellogg School of Management master’s level and exchange students; GLO exchange students; and NU-Q exchange students will not complete this course and should upload documentation from their respective areas. More information can be found on the online F-1/J-1 student orientation course webpage.
  • Upload a copy of your F-1 or J-1 visa page from your passport*
    *This visa page contains your name, passport number, date of birth, visa issuance and expiration dates, etc.
    Note: Canadians citizens do not receive an F-1 or J-1 visa and should instead upload a copy of the I-20 or DS-2019 in this section.
See Understanding Immigration Documents to learn more about your visa.

Update your U.S. address in CAESAR

Go to the CAESAR login page and login using your NetID and password
- Click on the “Profile” box
- Then click on the “Addresses” link in the left hand menu and enter your current U.S. address.
- See Add or Update Address for step by step images and instructions.

Current (U.S.) address 

Your current address must be a US address. List the address where you are living while attending courses at Northwestern University. The current U.S. address should never be a non-US address. 
Please be aware that a very specific format is used for writing addresses in the US, which may differ from how addresses are written in your home country.  

Failure to write your US address in the correct format can cause it to be invalid, and therefore it will not be considered updated. Please ensure that your current (US) address follows the guidelines and format as shown below: 

  • Country must be United States 
  • Address 1 must be the building number first, followed by the street name (never include the name of your apartment or dorm building in the address) 
  • Address 2 is optional and should be used for an apartment, dorm, or floor number 

Important note

OISS cannot activate or validate your immigration record until you have updated your US Address in CAESAR. Even if you are living in a temporary location, enter that address and then update when you move. Throughout your studies at Northwestern in F-1 or J-1 student visa status, you must always update your address in CAESAR within 10 days of moving.

Permanent (non-US) address 

Your permanent address must be a non-US address, most likely your address in your home country, before arriving in the US. This should never be a US address.  


Update your emergency contact in CAESAR

During your studies at Northwestern, you are required to keep an emergency contact updated with the university. Emergency contacts should be updated in CAESAR. If you are unsure how to update this information, please use these instructions for emergency contact updates.


Update your U.S. phone number in the OISS Portal

During your studies at Northwestern, you are required to have at least one phone number updated with OISS. 

Follow these steps:

  •  Login to the OISS Portal with your NetID and password.
  • Click on the “Documents and Requests” tab in your student profile.
  • Select the “Contact Information Update” request.

F-1 Students

You may update the U.S. Phone Number and/or Foreign Phone Number (and Foreign Country Code).
If you do not have a phone number, you may check the "No phone numbers" box.

J-1 Students

You must update the US Phone Number. If you do not have a US phone number, you may use the US phone number of a friend, relative, or your academic department. If you are participating in an exchange program, the US phone number field may already be updated with the phone number of your exchange program. Please check in the Personal & Programs tab.

Attend International Student Orientation

International Student Orientation is an opportunity for students to learn about Northwestern — including meeting their OISS Advisor, learning about immigration requirements, preparing for the academic year, and making connections with other international students. We offer two separate programs in the fall term that are specific to the academic level: International Wildcat Welcome for undergraduate (bachelor's) level students and GISO for graduate (master's and PhD) level students.

Students arriving to begin studies in Winter, Spring or Summer terms

OISS will provide virtual orientation for students arriving to begin studies at Northwestern in Winter, Spring or Summer terms. 

Additional tasks to complete soon after arrival if you have not already

Get your Northwestern WILDCARD

Print and save your Northwestern University Student Health Insurance Card

Go to and click on "Get your ID Card" to download a copy of your health insurance ID card.

Submit required immunization and health records to Health Services.

See Health Services Immunization Requirements for full details and a link to upload your immunization records.